LGBTQ Family Building
Making the decision to start your family is an exciting time, filled with planning and anticipation for the future. Learning about your family building options is an important first step on this journey.
At Generations Fertility Care, we welcome everyone and have helped many LGBTQ patients achieve their dreams of building their family. To begin the process, you will have an initial consultation with your fertility specialist to discuss options for your personalized care. Our team of fertility specialists will guide you through the process, answer your questions and support your goals along the way
Fertility Options for Same Sex Female Couples
Whatever family building option you choose, we’ll make sure you get the expert care and emotional support you need. Many of our LGBTQ patients choose third-party reproductive services to help them achieve their family building goals. Third-party reproduction means eggs, sperm and/or embryos from a donor (a third party) are used to help an individual or a couple conceive.
Before beginning any third-party reproduction options, it’s important to decide who will carry the pregnancy. That person will then have an initial fertility evaluation. This evaluation can help determine if there are any medical conditions or risk factors to address that might impact fertility. After the evaluation, we will discuss the following options:
- Donor sperm - You will need donor sperm to conceive. Donor sperm can be from a known donor (a friend or family member) or an anonymous donor from a sperm bank. If you decide to choose an anonymous donor, sperm banks often supply a wealth of information about your donor, including how he looks, his family background, what he does for a living and more. Audio files of the donor’s voice may be available as well.
- Artificial insemination - Once a sperm donor sample has been obtained, you will undergo intrauterine insemination (IUI). IUI is a procedure in which a thin tube or catheter is used to place the sperm directly into the uterus.
- In vitro fertilization (IVF) - If IUI is unsuccessful or if your fertility specialist determines that you have certain underlying conditions causing infertility, IVF can be used to help you conceive. IVF is a procedure in which an egg is fertilized by sperm in a laboratory.
- Partnership IVF - An additional option for lesbian couples is partnership IVF. In this treatment, one partner donates her eggs, and the other partner carries the pregnancy. This can be an ideal way for both women to participate in the family building process directly. In this instance, both women will have an initial fertility evaluation.
Fertility Options for Same Sex Male Couples
Couples who would like to become parents will need to work with an egg donor and a gestational carrier. If the same person will donate her eggs and serve as the gestational carrier, she is called a surrogate.
Working with an agency to find the right egg donor and gestational carrier is an important part of your fertility journey. In some circumstances, a couple may have a friend or family member who will serve one or both roles. We do not have a gestational carrier program at Generations Fertility Care clinic, but we will help you connect with a reputable provider and offer supportive services.
Generally, here is what you can expect:
- The male partner whose sperm will be used to conceive will have a semen analysis to screen his sperm for infections and other safety concerns, as well as for any potential fertility issues like low sperm count or decreased sperm function. If there are fertility issues, we can provide male infertility treatments. Using your partner’s sperm or donor sperm is also an option in this instance.
- You will then select an egg donor and a gestational carrier. If you have a female relative (i.e., sister) who will be serving either role, she will need to go through an initial fertility evaluation. If she will be donating her eggs, they would be fertilized by the sperm of the other partner.
- IUI or IVF will be used to fertilize the donor egg.
- If IVF is used, the embryo will be transferred to the uterus of the gestational carrier who will carry the pregnancy.
Fertility Options for Trans Men or Women
If you are a transgender man or woman, it’s important to freeze your sperm or eggs before hormonal or surgical therapy. By using cryopreservation, you will be able to use your sperm or eggs after you have completed your transition.
After your transition, the following options are available:
- For transgender women: Your sperm or donor sperm can be used with an egg donor. A gestational carrier will then carry the pregnancy.
- For transgender men: Your eggs or donor eggs can be used with donor sperm. A gestational carrier will then carry the pregnancy.
Other Support for Your Fertility Journey
Going through fertility treatment or utilizing third-party reproduction can be a stressful time for patients. Our health psychologists have extensive experience helping patients anticipate challenges, navigate the emotional roller coasters and openly discuss concerns. Families using third-party reproduction meet with a health psychologist before beginning their journey.
The cost for diagnostic testing and treatment will vary depending on your medical condition and the path to conceiving that you choose. For more information about costs, please check the financial information section of our web site. In addition, we have financial counselors onsite to help you navigate questions about insurance; costs for diagnostics and treatment; and preserving sperm, eggs or embryos for future use.
There also are many legal considerations to becoming an LGBTQ parent. We recommend you meet with an attorney who specializes in this area to be sure you understand your rights and responsibilities.
If you have questions about LGBTQ family building or would like to schedule your initial appointment with a fertility specialist, please call (608) 824-6160 or complete our online form.